Forgive me, Janis Joplin, for destroying that wonderful album title of yours.
But it is true: the urge to get up and go to a con is growing in me. Fortunately, I can do something about this, and so can many others who suffer from the same affliction.
One of the recurring features in my fanzine Askance is a listing of Regional Science Fiction (and related subjects) Conventions and Events. By “regional” I mean the states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. That is only 5 states, or a mere 10% of all of the United States. Now, one would think that a convention listing for such a limited region wouldn’t have that many conventions and such, but a quick online search reveals quite the opposite is true.
A website that I usually visit for creating the con listing is http://www.cam-info.net/concalendar.html, which covers the area denoted above. It provides all sorts of information about cons, such as their websites, guests, where and when they are being held, rates, contact information, and so forth. For an example of the number and diversity, just between the weekends of February 8-10, 2013, and March 29-31, 2013, ten different events are listed; two of them are primarily SF oriented, three are focused on anime and cosplay, two gaming cons, one covers all three of these (and more) interests, another is all about fanzines/amateur publishing, and one is devoted to furry fandom. The obvious question is, “which ones do I want to attend?”
I have no difficulty answering that question, though. Like many fans, I go to the conventions that appeal to my dominant interest – in my case, literary science fiction and fanzines, and that amorphous entity called “faanish fandom” – which are also within budgetary constraints and easy driving distance. So of the nine events between now and the end of March, four meet my criteria. They are these:
ConDFW, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 15-17, 2013 (3 hour drive from home).
All-Con 2013, Dallas, Texas, March 8-10, 2013 (same hotel as ConDFW).
RevelCon 24, Houston, Texas, March 15-17, 2013 (this is the fanzine con, and less than 90 minutes from home).
Aggiecon 44, College Station, Texas, March 22-24,2013 (local student-run SF convention, and the least expensive option since I can stay at my house and commute to the con hotel).
Do you see a pattern? Yes, that’s right: three are held on consecutive weekends. If I was made out of money, I’d go to all four of these conventions. Unfortunately, such is not the case, so I need to make decisions. This process is complicated by having a family, working a full-time job, finishing my dissertation research and writing… You get the idea. All the things that get in the way of having fun.But this does not mean I cannot have fun, just need to be selective about it. In addition, I need to budget out for the big events coming up later in the year: the big one is LoneStarCon 3, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention, being held in San Antonio, Texas, which is roughly a three-hour drive from home, over the Labor Day weekend. A couple weeks after that is a big Steampunk event up in Dallas – again, three hours away – the Carnival Menagerie, which is a two-day event of all things Steampunk featuring dozens of vendors, many prominent bands, and hundreds of people in costume. So with these major events coming so close together, that limits the other cons and such I’d like to attend. Aggiecon 44 being here in town is a given, and this year’s edition features special guest George R.R. Martin.
So this is what I do, and probably most of you reading this blog also follow this practice: out of necessity, we need to be selective in pursuit of our fun. This is more evident when you realize that in America on practically every weekend of the calendar year there is some kind of science fiction related activity going on. Sometimes I really wish I was independently wealthy. *sigh* Such is life.
Here is your chance to join the discussion: which conventions or sf-related events are you attending this year? With a bit of luck, our paths shall cross and we can sit down and chat. To me, that is what going to a convention is all about – meeting new friends and seeing old friends again. Oh, is that George R.R. Martin standing over there? That’s cool. But he can wait; I’m busy talking with someone I haven’t seen at a con in four years.